Today’s Reading: Daniel 11:36-12:13 (additional reading: Psalm 123:1-4 & Proverbs 29:2-4)
We live in a society that wants us to conform to its ways, but we are called by Christ to be different. Even if you’re not yet a Christian, there’s a sense in which life is a struggle to conform. That’s because you were never meant to live in a world like the one you find yourself in. You were not created to live in a world that has the presence of sin, injustice, wrongdoing and evil. That was never God’s intention for you. And so we feel this pressure to conform to the world around us.
Daniel has some great advice for us all on how to rise above the ordinary in this world. – how to live the sacred life in a secular society.
If we want to dare to be different in a world that wants us to conform, then we must settle in our minds, once and for all, just who we are. It seems Daniel had a balanced self-esteem. Daniel knew what he was worth and his incredible value in God’s eyes – and this shaped his behaviour. Likewise, it seems Daniel had respect for his physical health also. He had a balanced self-esteem and a healthy self-respect for his body too. (The Bible encourages healthy living and caring for the body. (1 Cor 16)
Daniel has a solid self-confidence – showing that he had surrendered even his intellect to the Lord as well. Talking about Daniel and his friends we read “…In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom” (Daniel 1:20). Daniel used his natural gifts, skills and abilities to be the best he could. If you want to dare to be different in a world that wants you to conform, then you must settle in your mind, once and for all, just who you are and just how precious you are to God.
Secondly, If you want to dare to be different in a world that wants you to conform, then you must settle in your mind, once and for all, just why you are here. Daniel lived his life for an audience of one – his Lord. He was humble before God. And he recognized that God alone could give him wisdom and insight, and so he submitted his life to him. This meant that Daniel wasn’t easily distracted from his life’s purpose. Under great pressure, Daniel showed that wealth, power and money were no distraction to him. Once king Nebachadnezzar offered Daniel payment to interpret some writing …… Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means (Daniel 5:17).
Daniel is famous for being a man of prayer. It’s clear that Daniel looked to the Lord as his source of strength to live the sacred life in a secular society. If we want to live this life, then our source of strength is in the same place – by trusting in our Lord.
What lessons have you learned for Daniel?
Father, Thank You that You allow us to learn so much from those who have gone before us. Help us live a life of balence and to keep You and Your ways in first place. In Jesus’ name, Amen